|Diseases / List of Bacterial Diseases
/ Disease summary
Additional factors include:
- Sudden fluctuations in environmental temperature.
- High ammonia levels (associated with poor sanitation and/or feeding
of diets too high in protein).
- Low humidity - e.g. in centrally heated houses - with associated
increased dust particles in the air.
- Cigarette smoke or aerosols which may damage/irritate the
- Repeated sneezing and snorting.
- Exudate may come from the nares at this time.
- Less commonly also coughing (rare in rabbits).
- Nasal discharge, initially serous and later mucopurulent - thick and
white, later yellow.
- Crusts of discharge may be found on the skin around the nose.
- Ocular discharge may be present.
- Wiping of the nose with the forepaws.
- Matting and discolouration of the fur on the forepaws.
- Check the paws if no nasal discharge is visible, since it may
have been wiped off. (B601.7.w7)
- Noisy respiration - nasopharyngeal noise which may be described as "wheezing".
- Dacrocystitis. (J60.6.w1)
- Sometimes conjunctivitis. (B602.17.w17)
- This may be associated with problems of breathing while eating,
or possibly related to a decreased sense of smell.
- Ungroomed coat due to problems breathing while grooming.
- Clinical pathology: heterophilia may be noted with acute
infection, or leucopaenia with chronic infection. (B601.7.w7)
- Nasal cavity and sometimes paranasal sinuses filled with pus in
advanced disease; this becomes inspissated. Mucous membranes
ulcerated, infected turbinates atrophied and eroded (osteomyelitis).
- In acute disease, mucosal oedema and inflammation. (B602.17.w17)
- Young, recently acquired rabbits may develop disease having been
infected at their breeding establishment then subjected to the
stresses of weaning, transport and change in husbandry routine. (B600,13.w13)
- Increased susceptibility where a rabbit is kept in a shed or
outhouse with several other rabbits. (B600,13.w13)
- Clinical signs are suggestive, also consider the rabbit's history
regarding susceptibility and transmission. (B600,13.w13)
- Auscultation of the trachea - rales and rattles. (B602.17.w17)
- A deep nasal swab should be taken and sent for bacteriological
culture and sensitivity testing. Insertion of the swab will generally
require sedation or anaesthesia. (B600,13.w13)
- Swab both nares. (B601.7.w7,
- Insert at least 1 cm into each nares, further if possible (1 - 4
- A small swab is required, such as a no. 4 calcium alginate swab.
- For Pasteurella multocida,
immediately inoculate onto blood agar and incubate in aerobic or
microaerophilic conditions for a minimum of 48 hours. (B601.7.w7)
- Visual examination plus radiography to diagnose any underlying
dental problems. (B600,13.w13)
- Radiography can be used to assess nasal structures as well as the
teeth. Look for any erosion of the ethmoturbinates, or opaque conchal
sinuses indicating exudate. Note: a periapical abscess or foreign body
may be the cause of bacterial infection and turbinate erosion; finding
exudate and erosion does not rule out these diseases. (B600,13.w13)
- Careful positioning is important. (B602.17.w17)
- Antibiotic therapy based on culture and sensitivity testing if
- For Pasteurella multocida, usually one of the following:
- For Bordatella bronchiseptica infection, appropriate
antibiotic therapy is needed. (B602.17.w17)
- Note: consider the flora of the rabbit's gut when choosing an
antibiotic. Dysbiosis is less likely to occur with Trimethoprim-Sulphonamides,
fluroquinolones (e.g. Enrofloxacin),
Chloramphenicol or tetracyclines.
If penicillin is to be used, this side-effect is less likely if the
drug is given parenterally rather than orally. (B602.17.w17)
- If the rabbit develops diarrhoea or anorexia during antibiotic treatment,
stop treatment with that drug and try a different antibiotic. (B602.17.w17)
- Adjunct therapy: See: Treatment and Care
|Host taxa groups /species
||Dr Debra Bourne MA VetMB PhD MRCVS
||Brigitte Reusch BVet Med
(Hons) CertZooMed MRCVS (V.w127)